Off-road racing: SNORE to race Beatty this weekend

The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts are back in Beatty for the 48th running of the SNORE Beatty 250.

The race will run at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The start and finish will be at the same start used by the Best in the Desert General Tire Vegas to Reno off of Fluorspar Road near the entrance to the town. The race will be a 120-mile loop around the town, twice.

More than average traffic on Highway 95

Saturday travelers on Highway 95 north to Beatty can expect heavier traffic than normal due to race traffic early in the morning.

Ken Freeman, a former president (2000-2005, 2012-2015 ) of the off-road organization, said it was good to be back in Beatty. For those unfamiliar with SNORE, Freeman explained some major differences from his organization and Best in the Desert, which puts on the Vegas to Reno race.

“The SNORE racing organization is all volunteers,” Freeman said. “We are a club and a nonprofit organization. We do this for the love of the outdoors and I think we offer our racers a little bit more than other off-road racing organizations.”

The little bit more he is referring to is value.

“You can run three SNORE races for the price of one Best in the Desert race,” he said. “We also feel we give out more trinkets and bonuses, that kind of stuff.”

SNORE is different

Another difference is this organization does not allow quads or motorcycles.

“We do this because of safety,” Freeman said. “We just don’t want to see a quad take on a trophy truck or buggy.”

Pit safety was another concern. In SNORE pit crews no longer race from one point to another in leap-frog fashion, which is common practice for Best in the Desert pit crews. SNORE stopped this practice.

“We stopped because of an accident we had with one of the pit crews,” Freeman said. “He was speeding and wrecked. So we keep the pit crew speeds down by having pit crew members at each pit stop.”

“Our races also tend to be shorter for safety reasons,” he said. “These shorter loops allow our medical teams better access.”

Freeman went on to say that because the courses tend to be shorter, this means the races are more technical.

“In other words, we have done away with those long straightaways that favor the Trophy Truck, which evens the races out,” Freeman said. “Normally in races like the Vegas to Reno race, the Trophy Trucks have the advantage and can outrace the buggy class but in our race that advantage is gone.”

Family at the core, along with fun

It all comes down to one element of SNORE, which some feel makes it stand out from other off-road organizations and that being its core racers are family-oriented and basically garage mechanics who want to have fun racing.

Freeman said this was the main reason the prices to race are kept so low because most of the money the racers of SNORE have goes into their vehicle.

“These guys do all the work themselves and can’t really afford professional prices or even to hire anyone to help them,” he said. “The majority of SNORE racers work from their own garages.”

One of the reasons Freeman sticks with SNORE racing is the family aspect. He has been racing for 45 years and grew up with SNORE and so have his sons and now his grandchildren. SNORE was established in 1969 “for fun, friends and family and is the oldest sanctioned off-road racing organization in the world.”

“My son and I have raced a lot,” he said. “We have raced in Baja together. I have even won with my son some races.”

But the Baja racing came after growing up with SNORE racing, he said. One of his sons went on to race with the three-time winner of the Sanctioning Committee Off-Road Events International Baja 1000 race, Rob MacCachren. MacCachren also got his start in SNORE.

His sons even did some professional racing

“My son teamed up with him (MacCachren) to win the Best in the Desert Class 10 championship,” Freeman said. “And both my sons, because of SNORE, got involved in off-road racing as adults. My dad got us all started in this. Then both sons tinkered with me in the garage as kids, fixing the off-road vehicle. My sons then were in my pit, and grew and from there wanted to drive. And now my grandson is doing the same thing.”

Freeman says his family has three generations in SNORE.

“I like the fact that families race together,” he said. “Everyone is friendly to all the other race teams. The other teams are like extended family and go out of the way to be helpful. If you ask for parts they will usually let you have it. Again, it’s all about family.”

Freeman has been a longtime racer with SNORE and Best in the Desert and has won races in both organizations.

“If I had to pick one of my best accomplishments, I guess it would have to be a win in 1978 where I won a combined all-class series championship for SNORE.”

Despite not operating motorcycles and quads, they still run 16 different classes. In the SNORE Beatty 250 there will be 80 cars and trucks entered in the event.

The last race of the season for SNORE will be Dec. 9-10 in Laughlin.

SNORE returning to Pahrump?

Freeman, who is also a board member of SNORE, said the organization would like to return to Pahrump. The last Pahrump 250 SNORE race was in 2010.

“We left because the window of when we could race in the fall got smaller with the desert tortoise breeding season being in the fall.”

This is why Best in the Desert has its Pahrump race in the winter when the tortoise is hibernating.

Off-road racers boost economy of rural towns

Nye County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman says there is no doubt that off-road racing helps the economy of small towns like Tonopah and Beatty.

“The racers will fill the hotels, gas stations and eateries of these small towns,” she said.

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